What are Trauma Centers?

  • Tertiary Trauma Centers: Hospitals designated as Level I or II Trauma Centers are “Tertiary” centers and have a full complement of specialties and services. A tertiary trauma center serves as a “receiving” hospital for smaller or rural hospitals needing specialized care or services and can care for nearly all types of injured patients. Level I centers have added commitment to trauma research and education.
  • Community Trauma Centers: Trauma Centers designated as Level III centers serve their communities through their ability to manage patients sustaining minor to moderate injury. Critically injured patients are transferred to Tertiary Trauma Centers or other specialty centers such as a Pediatric or Burn Center.

More than an Emergency Room

Hospitals that have made the commitment to become a trauma center have demonstrated a system-wide commitment to the care of the injured person. This includes dedicated specialists and services. Trauma centers coordinate care and protocols with community dispatch centers, EMS agencies, and throughout all phases of care including: emergency and operating rooms, critical, convalescent, and rehabilitation care. Trauma centers have robust performance improvement, education and injury prevention programs that address all aspects of trauma care.

Specialty care and services at all UCHealth Tertiary Trauma Centers include:

  • Critical care-trained trauma surgeons who are immediately available
  • Emergency physicians
  • In-house anesthesia physicians
  • Immediate access to radiologists
  • Trauma-trained orthopedic surgeons
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Facial surgeons
  • Medical specialties include critical care pulmonologists, internal medicine, cardiology, nephrology, infection control, in addition to several others.

What is Acute Care Surgery?

Acute Care Surgery is a discipline of surgery that includes trauma care, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care.  For ease of interpretation and to distinguish between trauma care, this site will refer to emergency general surgery as Acute Care Surgery. This surgical discipline treats patients with sudden onset of disease affecting, for example, the bowel or gallbladder that requires emergency surgery. All trauma surgeons within UCHealth manage Acute Care Surgery patients in addition to trauma patients.

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